It is the desire of every person to love and to be loved. But loving wives do not bring joy only, they bring sorrow as well.
I have come across Lulu’s song Kumalembe, in which the persona laments the death of his mother. As I am writing, I am listening to the song. I have been a happy person until this song when I started feeling for my mother. I am worried. The pain is caused by her happiness.
Mayi mudachoka kale
Kumalembe ndiribe nako mawu
Ndimafuna mukadaona apongozi
Makhalidwe monga munkachitira
The persona has married a very good, loving woman who reminds him his mother who died long time ago. He is supposed to be happy, but the loving wife is also a source of sorrow: the loving wife reminds him of his loving mother who did not see her daughter-in-law. I wish my mother had seen my wife, laments the persona.
This is the pain of it all. It is a deep subject well tackled by Lulu, our young musician. It is not that the persona wants a bad wife. But how does he reconcile the desire to have his mother and a good wife living side by side and the reality that he has a good wife who reminds him of his late mother? How does the loving wife fill the spaces left by his mother, the visible spaces, the absence he is feeling because of presence?
My mother knows how to prepare thobwa and vegetables and meat and tasty nsima. Her wish now is to see me in the hands of a loving wife who would love me, care for me; one who would be lovable because my mother taught me how to love.
Those of us with mothers living do not only have them as a source of happiness, but also sadness if we are not yet married?
My father, now I recall, turns out to be a good cook as well. He is good at meat, especially chicken. He can roast a chicken and you wonder at it. Still on my father, he used to press my school uniform in the morning and let me feel the warmth of the iron. In retrospect, I realise that warmth represented the warmth of his love.
So, too, mom. She had her way of keeping food warm. I used to walk 10 kilometres to and from school and coming back at about three in the afternoon, I would be hungry and tired.
But the food she kept for me was great, always. She kept it warm and fresh and wanted me to be happy. She would give food, and tell me to eat at table. “When you rest my son,” she would say, “you should go to the grocery or market."
So, my day would come to an end like that, with an evening of another meal, prayer and study. Mom was good at telling me to work hard in school. My son, she used to say, you are my last born, work hard in school. It seems to me she left blank spaces because now I think she meant that I was a weak boy because I was last born.
She knew my wealth was in my brain and had to nurture it academically which is what I have done. I have walked a long road, rough and painful at times.
But I never lost time really. I ended up in the University of Malawi where I read for a BA in Journalism and now finishing my MA in English Literature. I have a good job that cares for me and my old parents. I am able to give them the best health care and provide for their needs.
Yet my mom's death will haunt me if my wife will be as loving as my mom. Her death will haunt me, too, if my wife turns out to be bad, just bad.
But it seems to me these things are better experienced than explained. Love is more complicated than we think. It is a source of happiness, yet a source of sorrow, a kind of sorrow that comes from happiness and ends in happiness.
Hopefully you will comment on this subject and we discuss it more and more.